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James M. Davis

Partner

Education

  • Chicago-Kent College of Law, Illinois Institute of Technology, 1995, J.D., Highest Honors; Order of the Coif
  • University of Washington, 1991, B.A.

Professional Admissions / Qualifications

  • Illinois
  • Colorado
  • Washington

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Court of Appeals - Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals - Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court - Western District of Washington
  • U.S. District Court - Northern District of Illinois
  • State Supreme Court - Washington
  • State Supreme Court - Colorado
  • State Supreme Court - Illinois
  • U.S. District Court - District of Colorado

Jim is a partner in, and deputy practice group leader of, the firm's Insurance Recovery Group. Jim is "extraordinarily hard working, fantastic in terms of client relations and very much attuned to the cutting-edge issues" and "[h]e has an unbelievable knowledge base of coverage law and can easily identify the esoteric points," reports Chambers USA based upon interviews with clients and lawyers in the insurance coverage community. His national litigation practice focuses on representing policyholders in insurance coverage disputes involving product liability, product recall, product contamination, first party property and business interruption losses, additional insured and vendor endorsements, historic coverage for environmental and asbestos claims, cyberliability, director's & officer's liability, professional liability, employment practices liability, commercial crime and fidelity bonds, workers' compensation liability, domestic and UK insolvencies, and UK solvent schemes. Jim regularly is engaged to tackle emerging insurance coverage issues such as global warming liability, he assists the firm's Renewable Energy Practice with insurance counseling and claims litigation, and he is a member of the firm's multi-disciplinary teams on Import Safety and Nanotechnology.

Jim also has served extensively as trial counsel in commercial disputes involving breach of contract, indemnity, construction, sales practices, environmental compliance, shareholder and partnership, RICO, and unfair competition. He views litigation as just one means for his clients to achieve their objectives, and develops facts and arguments for any matter in the way most likely to reach the desired end – through trial, settlement or alternative dispute resolution.

His representations have encompassed clients ranging in size from Fortune 50 corporations to family-owned businesses. He is familiar with a wide spectrum of manufacturing and service industry sectors, including retail, pharmaceutical, energy, financial institutions, food manufacturing, construction, real estate and consulting.

In addition to his policyholder practice, Jim regularly publishes and speaks on insurance recovery topics.  He is the co-editor of the American Bar Association Section of Litigation Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee's website, he serves on the Committee's long range planning committee, and he previously chaired the Committee's Annual CLE Conference for 2008 and 2009, the Emerging Issues Subcommittee (second term), and the Programming Subcommittee. 

Employment History

  • 2008 - Reed Smith

Honors & Awards

  • Chambers USA 2008-2014 (Insurance: Dispute Resolution Illinois)
  • Illinois Super Lawyers 2009-2014 (Insurance Coverage Litigation or Corporate Counsel Edition)
  • Best Lawyers 2012-2015 (Insurance Law) 

Professional Affiliations

  • Law360 Insurance Editorial Advisory Board – 2014
  • American Bar Association Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee
    • Co-Chair of Annual CLE Conference in Tucson, AZ (2008 and 2009)
    • Co-Editor of Website and Long Range Planning Committee
    • Previously Co-Chair of Programming and Emerging Issue (two terms) Subcommittees

Notable Quotes

Jim has been quoted or cited as an expert on insurance law, as follows:

  • "The 50-state patchwork of insurance laws and regulation leads to uncertainty as to the actual scope of coverage of insurance,” Law360 (February 22, 2013)
  • "Swine Flu Prompts Cos. to Examine Insurance," Law360 (May 1, 2009)
  • "Insurance News: Greenhouse Gas Emissions Seep Into Insurance Companies," The Insurance Policy (April 5, 2007)
  • "US Environmental Ruling A Huge Blow to Insurers?" National Underwriter (April 3, 2007)
  • "Policyholders largely expected to accept AIG offer," Business Insurance (February 20, 2006)
  • Armstrong Cleaners, Inc. v. Erie Ins. Exchange, 364 F. Supp.2d 797, 809 (S.D. Ind. March 2005)["An insurer may not reserve its rights to assert otherwise unidentified defenses with a general statement to the effect that such defenses may arise during the course of its investigation of the claim. Consequently, if the insurer fails to set forth specific defenses in its reservation of rights letter, it may be held to have waived those defenses or be estopped from asserting them at a later stage." James M. Davis and Paul Walker-Bright, Insurers' Use of Boilerplate Affirmative Defenses and Rule 11 ? Where's the Outrage, 15 Coverage 1, American Bar Association Section of Litigation (January/February 2005)]